Malaysia: Online grocery deliveries struggle as demand heightens
Online grocery delivery services are experiencing a sudden spike in orders as panic buyers continue to shop amid the extended Movement Control Order. Malaysia Retail Chain Association VP Datuk Liew Bin said many grocery stores are currently facing overwhelming orders from buyers, which has resulted in a temporary suspension of their delivery services. “This situation has stemmed from the sudden growth of demand, and hypermarkets and grocery stores were not prepared for this outage. The delivery team could not complete their rounds, although some of them work from morning to night to deliver all the customers’ orders,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
Retailer Kesko to cut temporarily 2,000 Finnish staff
Finnish retailer Kesko said it would lay off for up to 90 days 2,000 staff in Finland, one sixth of its employees, due to the coronavirus. It will also suspend recruitment and adjust its operations in Sweden, Norway, Poland and the Baltic countries, where it employs some 12,000 people.
Qatar: LuLu Hypermarkets issues new guidelines for customers on social distancing
LuLu Hypermarkets have issued additional guidelines for shoppers, further deepening the already implemented social distance policy that require shoppers to maintain a 2m distance between each other. LuLu outlets have launched pre-packed vegetables, fruits, roastery, cheese, meat and bakery among others in order to discourage the purchases through serve-over-counters, according to a statement.
MENY supports local food suppliers in Norway
Norwegian supermarket chain MENY has announced plans to help local food suppliers during the coronavirus crisis, amid fears that many could go bankrupt. Commenting on the retailer's plans, Meny CEO Vegard Kjuus said: “Norwegian local food producers are important for local workplaces, food culture and innovation in the grocery industry. Local food offerings have never been greater. Now we have to do everything we can to make sure they get through the COVID-19 crisis”.
UK: John Lewis Partnership thanks Partners for going above and beyond with recognition award and increased discount rate
The John Lewis Partnership has announced that all non-management Partners and first level managers working from 12 April will receive a recognition award of £25 for each week worked in May and June (£200 in total). The payment will apply to all front-line Partners who continue to work to support the Partnership in Waitrose shops and John Lewis online. This represents around 11% of an average full-time non-management Partner’s weekly pay (percentage will vary depending on hours worked) and follows the payment of a 2% bonus which was awarded to all Partners in March.
Holland: Jumbo looks to expand in Europe
Netherlands-based Jumbo’s chief executive Frits van Eerd has outlined the retailer’s plans to expand the brand further into Europe. Van Eerd would like to further expand the brand’s presence in Belgium and, then, eventually introduce it in France. Jumbo currently operates two stores in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium. The main challenge of expanding into France is the language barrier, therefore, to counteract this, van Eerd plans to open stores in the French-speaking southern part of Wallonia first. The plan is to open 100 stores in Belgium overall in the next five years, in both Flanders and Wallonia, then re-evaluate the language barrier with France.
UK: Asda adds 300,000 extra slots to its online delivery operation
Asda has announced the addition of 300,000 slots to its online delivery operation, as demand for home deliveries increases due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the move, the number of delivery slots available on a weekly basis has now risen to 700,000, split evenly daily. Roger Burnley, Asda’s CEO, commented: “We have been working around the clock to expand our home shopping operations to make as many slots as possible available to our customers. In the last 2 weeks alone, we have increased the number of slots we have available by over 300,000, and continue to add more”.
Austria: Spar introduces voucher cards to encourage cashless payment
Spar Austria has introduced payment via voucher cards to reduce direct contact during payment, thereby simplifying shopping for risk groups during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The voucher cards can be purchased and topped up at Interspar, Eurospar, and Spar stores to a maximum of €200. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised shoppers to opt for cashless payment methods whenever possible as it reduces the risk of infection from the exchange of cash. The voucher cards can be easily disinfected, the retailer added.
US: Ingles Markets to hire over 5,000 workers
Ingles Markets plans to add more than 5,000 additional workers to support current employees and meet extra demands brought by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Asheville, North Carolina-based Ingles said that the new positions will bolster the workforce in its supermarkets and distribution center. The additions will “provide some relief” to current workers and help Ingles continue to serve customers and maintain stronger cleaning standards amid the health emergency.
Top unions call for closure of all Amazon warehouses - experts say it would be disastrous
A confrontation between Amazon and its U.S. warehouse workers over health risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak escalated significantly, when leaders of some of the country’s largest labor unions sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling on the company to temporarily close all facilities until it addresses the infection dangers. A nationwide closure would be crushing for the company, crippling its distribution network amid a spike in demand for Amazon’s delivery service as hundreds of millions have been forced into their homes, several logistics experts and a Wall Street analyst told Yahoo Finance. Still, the experts acknowledged that the company will likely have to reach a middle ground with the workers.
US: Publix goes contactless
Publix Super Markets is offering a contactless payment method at all of its stores, including GreenWise Markets, to address customer concerns about touching surfaces that might be contaminated by the coronavirus. Shoppers can make a contactless payment by placing a smartphone or contactless pay-enabled credit or debit card near a contactless-enabled device, rather than swiping or inserting a card into the PIN pad. Customers are able to pay with Apple Pay and Google Pay. This digital payment option is being provided as well as the existing mobile payment method via Publix’s app.
Canada: Loblaw piloting "one-way lane" traffic for customers in select stores
Loblaw, which runs Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, and more, is piloting one-way customer traffic in some stores. This new measure, which sees customers move through select locations in one direction, with no backtracking, is one of the many ways the company is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, some stores have been asking customers to refrain from bringing their own reusable bags, as the sanitization of each individuals bag cannot be guaranteed.